Student Work

  • Photography (MFA)

    Sarah Wang and Zuri Smith

    The Gods Life

    This multi-media series depicts re-enactments of pivotal moments in my subject's grandfather, Clarence Edward Smith's life. Clarence, also known affectionately as Put or Puddin by close associates, Clarence 13X in the Nation of Islam, or Allah as he renamed himself, is the founder of the Five Percent Nation or Nation of Gods and Earths, a school of thought aimed at uplifting and educating the Black American community in Harlem by way of historic lessons and scientific facts. One man's legacy is retold through the lens of his grandson and related back to an esoteric numerology system called the Supreme Mathematics that the Nation of Gods and Earths use to decipher personal daily meanings. The series explores how the past informs the present in the context of the spaces that Clarence occupied in his lifetime. The oral histories shared through audio will contribute to the archive of information already out in the world about Clarence but this time with the unique perspective of his grandson. More than anything this project is a chance for a grandson to reclaim his family narrative and tell his side of the story for the very first time.